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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Apr 14, 2007 3:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Best ever New Potato Caboose

And here's my desperate bid to draw Cliff back into the fray...

After discovering another NPC devotee in Cliff, I went back and listened to as many versions as I could lay my hands on and had time for, and my personal favorite is...2-14-68.

In jotting down my notes, I used a rigorous A+, A, A- grading scale, figuring that a bad New Potato Caboose beats the best ever Mexicali Blues. Other dates earning A+ included Cliff's favorite 3-29-68, as well as the Two From the Vault version from 8-24-68, and 3-1-69. 11-11-67 got a solid A+ for the instrumental jam, but was marred by an iffy opening vocal section. Surprisingly, the 6-8-69 version from the Fillmore West 1969 bonus disc got one of the few A- grades for the godawful things my favorite bass player was doing to his instrument during his solo.

Anyway, 2-14-68 took the crown for the archetypal manner in which the musical narrative unfolded. Each step in the traditional sequence of musical events in that number is handled just right, and they flow into each other in a natural and compelling manner. By contrast, every other A+ or high A version I listened to is distinguished by one or more fine moments (Jerry's long guitar passage in the 3-29-68 version is astonishing, especially considering how early it is in the band's history), but either has counterbalancing weak points or lacks the coherence of 2-14-68.

And that, ladies and gentlemen (and IP-sharing alter-egos) is one man's annotated opinion.

As to Playing in the Band, all I can say is 5-21-74.

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Apr 14, 2007 4:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

Oh...forgot to mention another A+ version and a sentimental favorite: 5-5-67 from Fillmore Aud.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd67-05-05.sbs.yerys.1595.sbeok.shnf

It's a heartwarming version, beginning with Bobby's "This one's for Laughlin" at the beginning, and the jamming is remarkably sophisticated for such an early version. BTW, there's an interesting discussion of who or what Laughlin might be at the above link.

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Poster: Chris Freedom Date: Apr 14, 2007 5:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

Hey Lou

Even though it sucks that New Potato never came back.
I like that there were songs they shelved because they didn't feel right playing them anymore, who else but the Dead would charge into a Gimme Some Lovin and then realize Brent took that one with him, so they did not even finish the song and then they never played it again.

New Potato kills!!! I would not compare it to any other Bobby tunes because to me it similiar to a song like the Golden Road. New Potato was fresh and vibrant and like Golden Road just belongs to the time period it was played in.

"New Potato Caboose"
Words by Robert Petersen, music by Phil Lesh
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing Co., Used by permission.

Last leaf fallen;
Bare earth where green was born.
Black Madonna, two eagles hang against a cloud.

Sun comes up blood red;
Wind yells among the stone.
All graceful instruments are known.

When the windows all are broken
and your love's become a toothless crone,
when the voices of the storm sound like a crowd,
winter morning breaks;
you're all alone.

The eyes are blind,
blue visions are all a seer can own
And touching makes the flesh to cry out loud.
This ground on which the seed of love is sown.
All graceful instruments are known.

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Apr 14, 2007 5:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

Agreed! Listening to the '69 NPC's, I became more convinced that NPC was a tune they needed to play regularly to be able to play at all. In the first half of '68, they played it almost every damned night, and so the versions were tight. As it became less central to their repertoire, the versions became increasingly more chaotic, thus presumably making them that much less inclined to play it at all. Unlike simpler tunes like Nobody's Fault But Mine, it wasn't a number that could be pulled out every now and then. But man, if they did Unbroken Chain in 1995, couldn't they have given NPC one last ride? Oh well.

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Poster: Chris Freedom Date: Apr 14, 2007 7:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

Lou

Good point it is more like the Eleven, NPC is not something you just find as your jamming.

Also, not as a knock on Weir but his vocal range changed and I
think anywhere after 72 it would have been a stretch for him.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 14, 2007 11:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

Hey guys--chiming in late as I was busy bemoaning the state of affairs here, failing with wit and sarcasm, and as a long time lover of NPC, didn't want to steal the show...hoping CLIFF might. I like all the choices listed here.

Was an amazing vehicle for Phil back in the day. Those from Feb through the fall, especially August, 68, depending on the mix, were almost always enjoyable.

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Poster: mickmac Date: Apr 14, 2007 6:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

01/20/68 Eureka

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Apr 14, 2007 6:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

The late Cliff Hucker was also sweet on that one. It does have a dreamy quality and nice vocals in the first part, but the subsequent jam never really takes off. Jerry sounds hesitant there as well as in the Spanish Jam that follows a soulful, acid-drenched Born Cross-Eyed. I actually gave it a withering A- based on the lackluster jam.

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Poster: n2oheaddives Date: Apr 14, 2007 4:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

.......is that a Billy Jack quote ?

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Apr 14, 2007 5:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

"The Born Losers" was released three months after the show, so I'm thinking not.

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Poster: n2oheaddives Date: Apr 14, 2007 5:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose

once lived in a hut where they made mulitible '69-'71 motorcycle horror movies......what a crib with history.

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